Concussions 101: Don’t Ignore This Silent Threat to Brain Health
Concussions are a common type of traumatic brain injury that can cause serious negative impacts on your quality of life. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, they often occur due to falls, motor vehicle crashes, contact sports accident and assaults.
In fact, concussions and other traumatic brain injuries are some of the most common injuries resulting from car crashes. However, concussions are often ignored, as many symptoms appear negligible at first but may worsen over time.
As with many injuries and illnesses, timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment of concussions are essential for a full recovery and to prevent potential long-term complications.
We’ll discuss the basics of concussions in adults and children, including possible effects, symptoms to look out for, the importance of early diagnosis, and finally, where to turn to for legal help if you or a loved one have been a victim of a concussion.
What Is a Concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury typically caused by a bump or blow to the head or a sudden jolt to the body. It often occurs when the head moves rapidly back and forth, causing the brain to move around within the skull. This movement can produce chemical changes in the brain or damage brain cells. Concussions may be mild, moderate or severe, but all concussions warrant care and treatment.
How Common Are Concussions?
Concussions are extremely common. According to WebMD, “some estimates say a mild brain trauma is sustained every 21 seconds in the U.S.” The Journal for Head Trauma Rehabilitation reports that 28.9 percent of Americans have reported experiencing at least one concussion in their lifetime—and these numbers reflect only those individuals who are aware that they suffered from one.
What Are the Symptoms and Long-Term Impacts of a Concussion?
Everyone should understand that there are serious and potential long-term effects of untreated concussions. The more frequently an individual has a concussion, the more pronounced these impacts may be. Below are some of the most common impacts in children and adults; if you or a loved one experience any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical help immediately.
- Delayed development in children: Children who suffer from concussions may suffer both immediate and long-term consequences, including delayed development of cognitive and behavioral functions.
- Headaches: Headaches are the most common effect of concussions, and they can persist for several months if not properly treated immediately.
- Personality changes: After a concussion, personality changes can show up — sometimes immediately, and in some cases, years after the event. These changes can include more frequent irritability, aggression, anxiety, and problems processing. In serious cases, they can lead to depression, loss of impulse control, and suicidal thoughts.
- Sensitivity to light and noise: Sufferers of concussions may be prescribed colored glass to help handle the pain associated with sensitivity to light after a concussion, one of its most common symptoms. Concussions may also trigger sensitivity to noise, and even tinnitus (a persistent ringing in the ears).
- Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE): CTE is a potential impact of concussions that may cause permanent memory damage or even dementia.
- Post-concussion syndrome: PCS occurs when symptoms last longer than expected after a concussion. Symptoms may include dizziness, problems with memory and concentration, and headaches lasting weeks or months.
Some of these symptoms may seem negligible at first, but they shouldn’t be ignored. While many sufferers of concussions can receive adequate treatment by resting at home, a doctor should evaluate your unique circumstance to determine if anything more is needed to get you back to tip-top shape as quickly as possible.
Preventive Measures: What You Can Do To Limit Your Risk of Concussions
One of the best ways you can avoid the risk of concussion is to practice safe driving. Drivers and passengers should always wear seat belts, and children should be properly secured in age- and size-appropriate car seats. Proper restraint of all of a car’s occupants helps ensure less severe movement when and if a car crash occurs, which in turn limits the potential of a severe injury to or harsh movement of the head and brain.
When it comes to high-contact sports, make sure you (or your children) are wearing protective equipment. Contact and injuries in sports like football, hockey, boxing, rugby, and lacrosse are all frequent causes of moderate and severe concussions. Even individual sports like skateboarding, skiing, snowboarding, skating, biking or horseback riding can present serious threats to brain health, as falls are frequent and often severe. You should always wear a helmet to protect your skull and brain.
Legal Help Navigating the Aftermath of a Concussion
If you believe you may have experienced a concussion or any other type of traumatic brain injury, you should immediately seek medical care. Experts recommend that anyone experiencing symptoms of a concussion should report to a doctor’s office or hospital for examination and testing.
Once you’ve been treated for your medical symptoms, you may still need to be made whole financially. It’s important to seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney after a car accident or other event that may have led to a concussion or other traumatic brain injury.
Working with an experienced personal injury attorney can help provide you with answers to your questions about insurance coverage related to your accident, liability, financial restitution, and more. After a car accident or other injury-causing event, you may have a personal injury claim. Don’t wait until it’s too late after an accident to address your medical or legal situation. Victims should always reach out to professionals to get help as soon as possible.